Has Your Social Presence Ballooned? How To Select Social Media Platforms Based On Strategic Fit.

It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of social media. As marketers, we love shiny new objects. When something new comes along we feel we and our brands must jump in or get left behind. FOMO is real.

We also tend to not want to let go of things of the past. If we’re not careful we end up with a budget and resources stretched thin between new platforms and old ones as the list of social icons on our websites and our profiles grows. Slowly some or much of our social media may be missing the mark.

Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

Being An Early Adopter Has Its Benefits.

Jumping into a new social platform can have benefits such as growing an early following before the platform becomes too crowded and becoming known as an expert. That can pay off professionally for personal branding or for company brands such as The Chicago Bulls who were one of the first pro teams on TikTok. But social platforms can also rise quickly like Meerkat and Clubhouse only to go out just as fast.

It’s important to note that the Bulls were early adopters of TikTok, but they didn’t jump in with their previous message, content, and audience. They first took time to make a strategic decision to invest in a new target audience with content relevant to that audience and the platform. Instead of a Bulls brand account aimed at current fans, it was team mascot Benny The Bull’s TikTok to draw younger new fans.

Win On Paper Before Going To Battle.

Marketing icon Philip Kotler says, “You should never go to battle before you’ve won the war on paper.” First, know or remind yourself of your strategy. What are your main goals? Who is your main target market? What are the key insights you know about them? What main action do you want them to do? What is your main message or idea?

Armed with your marketing objectives, target audience, key consumer insights, and brand message/idea select the optimal social channels to implement your social media strategy. Think of each social channel as a well-placed source to launch or continue a social media plan in the right direction.

Research key social platforms collecting descriptions of the central characteristics (size, content, users, and ad options). Also, consider organizing them in categories such as social networks, blogs, microblogs, media sharing, social bookmarking/knowledge, ratings and reviews to determine the channels of your social strategy.

To gain full appreciation join the platforms as a user and become a firsthand witness to the unique social experience. Think of each as a current or potential brand community and ask some key questions.

For each social media platform ask:

  • What benefit do users get from being part of the current brand community?
  • What are the benefits of joining a new brand community on this platform?
  • How’s the brand community on this platform unique from other platforms?

Right Message, Right People, Right Environment.

Keep marketing objectives, target audience, consumer insights and main message/idea in mind. Look for the ideal channels to deliver brand messages and engage the target audience to convey the right message to the right people in the right environment.

Avoid wasted effort chasing every new social platform or assuming the biggest is the best. Add new channels that make sense for the content and consumer while leaving behind social platforms that may not be serving a strategic purpose. A social media audit is a great tool to help with this pruning.

Consider these questions for each platform:

  • How active is our target audience on this platform?
  • How will we communicate our message big idea on this platform?
  • What do we want them to do on this platform?

Remember that a social platform is not the right choice simply because it has the most users. Social media has matured. Most people today have multiple social media accounts and different groups of people are active at various levels on different platforms for different reasons.

It also depends on what you are trying to accomplish—your marketing objectives. Is the social platform’s environment right for the brand, message and cal to action?

Select Social Platforms Based On Content Fit.

When considering social media platforms, think about the kinds of content that will work best and the platforms ideal for that type of content. Those who are familiar with industry standard creative briefs will recognize the usefulness of considering the three questions below.

Determine your content message by asking:

  • What does the target audience currently think?
  • What would we like the target audience to think?
  • What will move them from one to the other? (big idea/main message)

The big idea and main message are what you need to get in front of your target audience. That may require specific types of content to shift their thinking.

If you’re an apparel company and your audience believes your brand is out of style, you won’t convince them with Tweets about quality materials. High quality images of your new styles on Instagram and collaborations with fashion influencers on TikTok would be a better fit. Yet a Twitter post sharing stats and facts could be good for a nonprofit cause.

Too many social icons clogging up your profile or website?

Social media bloat can tighten your resources and get in the way of achieving your goals. If you’re not talking to the right people on the right platforms with the right content and message, you won’t be efficient or effective. Is it time to review your strategy and let the air out of some social platforms?

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